Many people are pricking up their ears and starting to take an interest in the various benefits of big data analytics, as it becomes increasingly clear that businesses simply can’t do without this in-depth information.
One area in which big data is assuming a major role is in management. Why? Because this type of technology makes it possible for businesses to analyse the numbers and work out how they can continue to grow and prosper – even if they have limited budgets.
ComputerWorld has pointed out that this type of managerial approach is, in part, being adopted thanks to the real-life story of a US baseball team whose manager was able to turn around its fortunes, despite its lack of money. They were able to analyse statistics and then come up with the most cost-effective player roster in the league.
Data transformed the way US baseball teams are managed
Big data’s analytical power is generally spoken of when talking about its ability to improve efficiency and generally do what it is supposed to do – namely handle ever-increasing volumes of information for a variety of businesses.
However, this Forbes report illustrates the way in which online auction house eBay managed to take the concept of big data and apply it in an unusual way in order to save itself significant sums. At EMC, we think that this type of thinking is the new normal. The unusual becomes the usual.
Tens of millions of customers around the world and an incredibly complex infrastructure of online services mean that eBay is generally required to manage huge volumes of data on a daily basis. However, it also needs a significant IT infrastructure made up of various hardware components housed in disparate locations, all of which pull together towards a common goal. But this also costs the company significant sums of money (and significant means more money than you might imagine).
In the recent past, eBay decided to turn its knowledge of big data analytics on to this IT infrastructure itself and pulled information from every single asset and component, so that it could see which areas were operating efficiently and which servers might not be making best use of their resources and being exploited to the fullest extent.
How do you begin to prepare your organisation to work with big data? IT leaders are constantly told by the industry press that they need to start using the valuable predictive insights that can be gained from large, multi-structured datasets. The problem is, there usually isn’t any information on how to actually get started.
Let’s change that right now. There’s no doubt that you do need to get going with a big data strategy – a 2011 IDC study claims that the amount of information managed by enterprise data centres will increasing by 50 times. You need to be prepared to handle this data and benefit from it. If you’re not thinking about a big data strategy, you’re competitors probably are: a May 2012 study by CIO Magazine, conducted on behalf of EMC, found that 54% of organisation are already putting together a big data strategy.
How do you put your strategy together? The most important part is to take account of the factors that are specific to your organisation. Which teams might benefit the most from big data insights? A large part of setting a big data strategy in motion is getting key stakeholders within your organisation involved, sharing your successes with the skeptical to build support, and picking your battles carefully. The last thing you want to do is be seen as a threat to other departments, a sort of ‘data police’ for your organisation. That’s a surefire way to make sure that no one else in your organisation will support you. And with major benefits on the line, you can’t afford to lose support. Be prepared for organisational politics and show everyone how a big data strategy can help them all.
That’s just one facet of putting a big data strategy in place, but it’s an aspect that is often overlooked. For more on how to prepare your organisation for a big data strategy, both culturally and operationally, take a look at ‘Big Data is Talking. Are You Listening?’, an interactive white paper from EMC.
Check out at all the latest big data news in our regular bulletin. How do the companies behind big data technologies see the field? Are football teams making effective use of it? And lastly, big data in 1955 – how and why? All of this will be answered in this week’s Big Data Insider, alongside another top stories, visualisations and information about upcoming industry events for everyone from developers to CIOs.
Every now and then something comes along that has the potential to change the face of business as we know it. Currently big data is being touted as that thing, and CIOs everywhere need to get a grip on what it is and how it can benefit their company.
The vast quantities of information people are creating and storing online, whether through social networks, blogs or other means, are creating huge data sets. What’s even bigger is the data generated by this information — a gigabyte of stored content can generate more than a petabyte of related data.
Extracting value from this data gives CIOs a golden opportunity to drive growth for their companies. That’s why we’ve put together a primer for you to show to your colleagues, teams and your CEOs, explaining what big data is and how companies are currently future-proofing their business models by implementing a big data strategy. Cut it out, keep it or pass it on.